|Posted by Rev. Mike Richards on April 12, 2012 at 12:00 AM|
1 John 1: 1-2:2
The epistle reading for this coming week states emphatically, "Now this is the gospel message we have heard from him and announce to you: God is light and in him there is no darkness at all." (v. 1:5) The writer of this epistle posits that the very foundation of the gospel message is that God is light (illumination, revelation, He who brings clarity). We are further told that we are to walk in this light. This is a very powerful invitation to us in a world filled with so much darkness, obsfuscation (that is the conceal the truth), power-mongering, and brokenness.
Our media outlets condition us toward sensationalism, our politicians demogogue every issue, our religious leaders are timid in the face of injustice in order to keep the peace, and we are constantly marketed to by advertisers. The truth is, there is not much light around these days. What a refreshing notion that there is a source of light/truth/illumination which is not contained by these cultural "gatekeepers"! Ours is an inheritance of light. As we disengage our awareness from our cultural conditioning and re-engage society from a place of clarity and reflection rooted in our awareness of God, God's Truth, and the possibility it engenders; we begin to reflect that light to the recesses of our world and culture. This is the proverbial "city set on a hill" spoken of by Jesus in the gospel of St. John. This is our mission. And the fruit of that mission is nothing less than a restoration to wholeness, clarity and redemption, as the First Epistle of John goes on to spell out.
Don't settle for less, because you don't have to. Step into the light of Christ and reflect it to the world. Now, I must say, in my experience, we don't often know how to recognize the light of Christ. Mostly, people are content to inflate their own narrow views into the heavens and call it the Light of Christ. The litmus test for whether or not we walk in the light is the fruit of love--a very important theme in the First Epistle of John. Hate-filled and judgmental rhetoric is not the light; rather, it is the darkness which St. John says has no part of God. Fire-breathing preachers of hate, judgmental Christians who relegate anyone different from themselves to Hell, and people who see the Church as an instrument to maintain power and control are no sharers of the light. In fact, they distract from it.
May the light and illumination of Jesus Christ transform our lives and correspondingly, our world.